This Election, Canadians Must Speak Out Against the Commercial Seal Hunt

Commercial sealers off the coast of Newfoundland plying their trade.

This article was original printed on Vancouver, B.C.'s  Straight.com.

Each spring for the last 10 years, I have been on the East Coast to document the commercial seal hunt. Each year, I must steel myself against the government misinformation, the false accusations against IFAW, and of course the horrors that we will face. And each year, just when I think I’ve seen it all, another example of callous cruelty-for-profit shows its hideous face.

As I write this, I am in Newfoundland and Labrador documenting the commercial seal hunt once again. Although the hunt is relatively small in scale this year, the cruelty that we are capturing is some of the worst in memory. Reviewing the day’s footage, we watch sealers as they flagrantly ignore the regulations time after time, in full view of our cameras.

A pair of sealers pose for a photo with a young pup, then pick it up by the hind flippers and hurl it onto an adjacent ice pan. A pup is shot but not killed. Bleeding profusely, it struggles and shudders on the ice pan, flippers clenched in pain until it is finally hooked, dragged on board, and killed. Another pup, its belly already slit open, reaches up from the bottom of a skiff and waves a paw with deliberate movement, a gesture of consciousness ignored by the sealer as he throws other carcasses on top. A sealer reaches down from the boat deck and drives a steel hook through the eye of a live pup as it tries helplessly to defend itself by biting at the hook.

As I watch this footage, the voices of our political leaders burn in my ears. “The seal hunt is humane,” they say. “It is well regulated.” “It is economically important.”

I know these are all lies. Our observations attest to the cruelty that is inherent in this hunt. We see no monitoring or enforcement of the regulations—inadequate as they are. And with pelt prices hovering at around $20 a skin, and mounting evidence that sealing now requires more in subsidies than it actually brings in, the economic justification for this slaughter is nonexistent. There can be no more excuses.

This year, the commercial harp seal hunt falls in the midst of a federal election. Now, more than ever, we need Canadians to speak out against this slaughter. It is cruel, it is unnecessary, it tarnishes this country’s reputation internationally, and it only survives because it is being propped up and supported by Canadian taxpayer dollars. Canadians can no longer afford to stay quiet. We need to let our political candidates know that we want the seal hunt to end. We need to elect leaders who are both courageous and compassionate. We need to build a Canada that is better for both animals and people.

Sheryl Fink is the director of the seal program at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

-- SF

Take action to stop the Canadian commercial seal hunt now at http://www.ifaw.org/seals

Comments: 11

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

hello Miss Fink

i would like to know where we can write a letter or sign a petition about this horrible things ! and say ' No' and try the best against this cruelty ???

thank you

Laurence

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

I am Canadian and like myself most Canadians do not agree with the hunt and the justifications of it. The hunt is definitely down but in this global economic crisis, the tight squeeze for jobs, and the fact that most of the people that conduct the hunt live in more remote areas (=less opportunity) "politicians" and people will support it for the almighty $$$.
People are afraid to change, create, they stick with what comes easy.
I don't know how they can slaughter these animals but when I think of what we are capable of doing to each other I'm not surprised. I hope that one day we will learn to love and respect one another, this earth and every other creature on it.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

When I look into eyes of seal I am smiling. They are so innocent and helpless, they are calling out for help... People should look into eyes of animals! The killers will be brought to punishment for the crimes , I believe.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

I'm sure Canadians will reject the politicians who have brought a bad name to their nation by continuing the massacre of innocent seals. The politicians responsible for wanton slaughter of millions of baby seals must simply go.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Enough is enough. Stop this brutal slaughter. Baby seals are like children. They're killing innocent, cuddly, defenseless children.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

I am sure the Canadians will show to the world that it is only a handful of people, especially their political leaders, who wish to continue the inhumane mass slaughter of baby seals and that the majority of people of that country are opposed to this brutal and senseless massacre. The politicians have no right to continue the slaughter, which is being opposed by the majority of people.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Come on Canadian citizens....you can help stop this barbaric hunt! There is only so much the people of the rest of the world can do, it is up to you to end this waste of life and waste of your tax dollars.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

That this cruelty can continue is beyond belief. I cannot understand why the majority of Canadian citizens are not rising up in protest about this horror. There is world opposition to this outrageous & unnecessary massacre, so how can the government continue to subsidize this cruelty?

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

The act of these people are terrible. Are they human beings? Is money all that important that we are ready to shed even the basic vestiges of being human. I will not buy any Canadian goods as my personal answer to this unspeakable horror being perpetrated by educated people.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

There is something seriously wrong with a human being when they can inflict that kind of sadistic,obscene cruelty upon a totally innocent and defenceless little baby being.

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